Bridgnorth Men’s pre-season buzz got even more intense this week as 5 of the 7 league sides were in action this week, each team playing Finchfield Hockey Club. To say that results were favourable would be understatement, as sides both home and away found joy against the Wolverhampton based club. The 1st XI, playing at home, slotted eight past the visitors who offered sporadic resistance to a somewhat clinical team who had learnt some vital lessons after last week’s performance against Telford. Debutant goalkeeper, Ben Taylor, ensured that the visitors were limited to a handful of chances throughout the game and was unlucky to lose his clean sheet after a rare Finchfield short corner kindly broke to the unmarked centre forward who duly obliged in slotting the ball home. Goals from Tom Weston (2), James Speke (2), Matt Martin (2), Pete Evans and Glen Thompson ensure the Blues were comfortably over the line with an 8-1 victory.
Meanwhile, a bare-bones 2nd team made the journey to The Royal School to face a strong Finchfield side which were brimming with confidence after their positive result against Aldridge and Walsall last week. Through intricate passages of play, the Blues fashioned a series of chances which provided the opportunity for Alex Starr to get his season’s goal tally up and running. Despite their vigour and sheer grit, their lead didn’t last and Finchfield claimed the equaliser – resulting in the only draw of Bridgnorth’s weekend (1-1). The 3rd XI had to dig deep in their final pre-season home game as they needed to come from behind to claim victory over a strong and physically demanding Finchfield team.
Goals from stalwarts Steve Parnham and Chris Speke, along with a 3rd XI debut goal for Connor Glendinning ensured the boys in blue kept up their excellent pre-season form.
As with the 2nd XI, the 4th team travelled to The Royal and cruised this contest. John Andrewartha (2), Sam Baugh (2) and Will Fox-Davies made light work of the Finchfield defence – grabbing the 5 goals, only for one in return for the home side.
The final game of the Men’s day took place at 4.30 on Bridgnorth Astro, where new 5th team captain, Stuart Ward, brought a mixed side up against Finchfield’s newly established 5th team. With the ball scarcely making its way into Bridgnorth’s defending half, the Blues romped to a 13-0 victory to round off a successful day for the club. Captain magnificent Ward grabbed 6 goals of his own, whilst Mark Eyke (2), Will Weir, Robert Tait, Ben Cresswell and George Wall all got in on the scoring act!
In the Ladies’ section, disappointment followed for the Ladies 2nds who, like their clubmates last week, had their game cancelled due to the opposition (Montgomery) not being able to field a team. That ‘walkover’ victory late on Thursday night put the 2nds at the top of the league, if only for a few days!
However, the Ladies 1sts were in action away to title contenders Wem and Market Drayton 1sts. On an unfamiliar 3G pitch, Wem created chances early doors but came to little fruition. Bridgnorth took their time to adjust to the bounce of the pitch, but when they did – they got going! Bridgnorth opened the scoring from a Jasmine Spooner injected short corner which found its way to Louise Walker at the top of the circle, who hammered the ball between the keeper’s legs. With a slender lead at half time, the Blues looked to capitalise. Megan Birt made sure that her first XI start would be memorable after she neatly finished off an excellent move which saw Bridgnorth surge forward, taking the game to Wem. Walker grabbed her second and third goals in quick succession as lightning well and truly struck twice – two identical short corners were finished off by the midfielder, as Wem seemed to not learn their lesson about leaving her unmarked; Kate Everitt-Smith turned provider for both goals. Finally, with the game out of sight, Walker produced a moment of marvellous magic – left unmarked in the circle once more, her reverse stick lob found its way past the stranded goalkeeper and nestled neatly in the top corner of the net. The Ladies now find themselves at the top of the league and going strong.
Next week sees the start of the Mens’ league, where the 1sts travel to Hampton-in-Arden, the 2nds host Lichfield (1.30pm), the 3rds make the long journey to Old Silhillians, 4ths travel to Cannock, 5ths play host to Old Wulfrunians (12.00pm), 6ths welcome Sutton Coldfield (4.30pm) and the 7ths play Newport on the grass (2.15pm).
Meanwhile, the Ladies 1st XI welcome Wem and Market Drayton 2nds to Bridgnorth (3.00pm), while the 2nds make the short journey to face a Telford side who are vying for 2nd place in the league.
All home games are played at Bridgnorth Leisure Centre Astro-Turf.